Art Nouveau is an art movement made popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Even if you're unfamiliar with it, chances are you’ve come across the style countless times in advertising, décor, and architecture. Creators and artists of the style aimed to bring a higher standard of beauty, ornament and craftsmanship to their work.
Brought about by a desire to embrace modernity, Art Nouveau was begun and developed as a rejection of the more classical, understated art that preceded it, and as a way to add beauty to everyday life, even in the most mundane, functional of objects. Turn-of-the-century buildings often boast ornate, elegant work on everything from radiators and bathtubs to doorknobs and light fixtures, and that voluptuous attention to surroundings was a facet of the Art Nouveau movement.
In two-dimensional applications such as painting, drawing and advertising, Art Nouveau was characterized by spirals and flourishes, intertwining lines and loops, often involving birds, flowers and vines for a dreamy, pastoral feel. Curvy, flowing-haired women in billowy clothes were also a popular theme. Graceful curves, and a lack of sharp angles starkly contrasted the Art Deco movement that followed on the heels of Art Nouveau.
While everyone has seen famous examples of Art Nouveau in poster and print form, there are also countless gorgeous and collectible books boasting classic Art Nouveau cover art just waiting to be discovered. Perfect to beautify any library.